Knowledge for a sustainable world

A message from Professor Andrew Westby, Director of NRI

Dear friends of the Natural Resources Institute,

My colleagues and I at NRI hope that you and your families are well at this difficult time. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic reminds us how we all live in a very interconnected world and the importance of working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

I wanted to write to update you on the current situation at the Institute.

To protect the health of our staff and students and reduce transmission of the virus in the wider community, we have taken the following steps:

  • all our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching has been moved on-line
  • NRI staff and postgraduate research students are working from home in line with advice of the UK Government
  • our offices are currently closed to visitors
  • all overseas travel has been postponed and all staff on short-term assignments have now safely returned to the UK
  • our laboratory work has been scaled back to complete on-going experiments and maintenance of greenhouses, insectaries and other facilities
  • planned meetings have been moved on-line.

We were fortunate to test our systems for home working prior to the decision to largely close the physical office last Friday. I am very proud of the way all our staff and students have pulled together to move to a ‘virtual institute’. All our staff have excellent connectivity, access to university services and resources, including the library. Please feel free to contact any of our staff by email – contact details can be found on our website We are committed to ensuring that our research, teaching and advisory work continues to the maximum extent possible – in short, we remain open for business.

For those partners with whom we hold contracts or sub-contracts, our Professional Services teams remain fully functional and so contracts will continue to be processed and payments made against milestones in the normal way.

For our undergraduate, postgraduate and research students, you should have all been in contact with your tutors or supervisors. Thank you for your support. Two PhD examinations were successfully completed virtually, which is a first for the Institute.

If current students have any queries, please contact Tracey Squires, your Student Programmes Administrator.

We anticipate that all our undergraduate (Physical Geography, Environmental Science and Biology) and our postgraduate programmes (Applied Food Safety and Quality Management, Food Innovation, Agriculture for Sustainable Development and Global Environmental Change) will run as normal from September. Recruitment processes will happen as normal. Please do stay in touch with our programme teams through this address: and they will be pleased to help.

Our e-learning programme in Food Safety and Quality Management will run as normal from September and welcomes new applications.

Staying in touch is so important at these challenging times. Please do make contact with our staff by email or through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

We are also going to use the time to relaunch our regular e-newsletter – The Resource. Please sign up here.


On behalf of everyone here, please do stay safe and look after yourselves.

Kind regards,


Andrew Westby and the staff of NRI.